How to Organize a Pantry

Can you believe we’re already almost halfway through the first month of this year? Didn’t we just celebrate New Years? Seriously, this whole “life just gets faster the older you get” thing is too true.

I’m sure many of you have made new years resolutions, and I hope that you have been able to stick with them. I, for one, have done…. all right. Perhaps one of your resolutions was to be more organized this year. Well, organization, and keeping it up is a tricky thing, because (as I’m sure you’ve noticed), it’s something you have to do continually. Nothing stays organized. If you use it, it gets unorganized. So the real trick is to organize it the right way the first time. The right way being, the way that is most maintainable.

My pantry is a workhorse, as I’m sure many of your pantries are as well. It gets used EVERY DAY, multiple times a day. I probably go into that room no less than twenty times on any given day. So keeping it organized can be tricky.

When we first moved in, I placed things in there where I thought they would be most useful. And while it’s worked well (the setup lasted almost a year, which is pretty impressive), when the new year struck, I felt the need to reassess it’s layout.

Now, I’ll warn you ahead of time, this post probably won’t be one where you’ll ooh and ahh over it’s prettiness. My pantry (although nice) is, at this point, more functional than pretty. Let’s just say that aspect is a work in progress.

Here’s what it looked like when I started:


As you can see, it needed some reorganization.

The first step in any project is to clear the space. Completely. If you can’t tackle the whole thing, work on one or two shelves at a time, but go ahead and take everything out. I kind of cheated on this, because I had just recently reorganized some of my homeschooling supplies, which live on the top shelves of the pantry. So they stayed. I also kept my bags of flour on the floor, since they weren’t moving either.


Once you’ve cleared everything out, your next step is to go ahead and clean it all. Break out that vacuum, and a wet rag if needed.


Next, you’ll move everything back in, but be purposeful here.

You probably already know to group like with like, but also think about positions too. Are there items you use all the time? Put them just below eye level. This was a mistake that I had made in my original layout. Although my glass jars were close to eye level, they were on an upper shelf, which made taking them out more difficult. So I moved them down a shelf.

Do the same with your canned goods, and your potatoes and onions (if you store them in your pantry).



Store your lesser used items on the shelves directly above and below the middle shelf (where you’ve put your main staples).



When you’re putting things away, get creative; use a cakestand to group small items, and store things in wooden boxes (like in the photo below). You can also repurpose shoe boxes (like I did in the photo above) to group things together. I also used a shoe rack to make use of every square inch. It’s perfect for little boxes and cans.

On your top shelf, put items you use the least often (in my case dog treats, birdseed, and dishes I don’t use very often), and store large/bulk items on the floor (like your flour).


This is what I ended up with:


To summarize, here’s how my pantry ended up: top shelf: dog treats, dishes, birdseed, etc.; second shelf: boxes of cans, small cans and jars, boxed pasta; third shelf: jars of bulk items; fourth shelf: party supplies (paper plates and napkins), onions and potatoes, cans; fifth shelf: bottles/containers of extra liquids, everyday napkins, etc.; floor: bags of flour and rice, catfood, big dog treats.

I can tell you this project made my pantry a lot more productive, and definitely made me want to use it more often!


Do you have any organizing tips for your pantry?


One comment on “How to Organize a Pantry

  1. […] shared with you a while back about the beautiful glass jars that I have in my pantry. They were given to me […]

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